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1

tense

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noun \ˈten(t)s\

Simple Definition of tense

  • grammar : a form of a verb that is used to show when an action happened

Full Definition of tense

  1. 1 :  a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes

  2. 2a :  a set of inflectional forms of a verb that express distinctions of timeb :  an inflectional form of a verb expressing a specific time distinction

Examples of tense

  1. The sentence will read better if you change the tense of the verb.

  2. You should avoid changing tense in the middle of a paragraph.



Origin of tense

Middle English tens time, tense, from Anglo-French, from Latin tempus


First Known Use: 14th century


2

tense

adjective

Simple Definition of tense

  • : nervous and not able to relax

  • : showing or causing nervousness

  • : not relaxed but hard and tight

Full Definition of tense

tens·ertens·est

  1. 1 :  stretched tight :  made taut :  rigid <tense muscles>

  2. 2a :  feeling or showing nervous tension <a tense smile>b :  marked by strain or suspense <a tense thriller>

  3. 3 :  produced with the muscles involved in a relatively tense state <the vowels \ē\ and \ü\ in contrast with the vowels \i\ and \u̇\ are tense>

tense·ly adverb
tense·ness noun

Examples of tense

  1. She was feeling pretty tense.

  2. Why are you so tense?

  3. We sat quietly for a few tense moments.

  4. It was a tense meeting.

  5. My calf muscles are really tense.



Origin of tense

Latin tensus, from past participle of tendere to stretch — more at thin


First Known Use: 1668

Rhymes with tense


3

tense

verb

Simple Definition of tense

  • : to make (a muscle) hard and tight

  • : to become nervous or tense

Full Definition of tense

tensedtens·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make tense

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to become tense <tensed up and missed the putt>

Examples of tense

  1. She tensed as he walked toward her.

  2. He tensed up and missed the putt.



1676

First Known Use of tense

1676




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